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University of Akron Zips blog

Zips Podcast

By mrasor Published: September 18, 2006


Here is another Zips Podcast from the Buchtelite dudes.

We mixed in some men's and women's soccer as well.

Download podcast_4.mp3

  • The Buchtelite recapped Akron's loss to Central Michigan. The story includes J.D. Brookhart's thoughts a few days after the fact.

  • Amanda Pecota wrote a diary entry after traveling to the game.

Men's soccer

Dan Kadar previewed the Zips crucial home match against Indiana on Wednesday. Then he wrote a column about why revenge would be so sweet.

Women's soccer

I wrote my column about the undefeated Zips and their coach who has struggled so much to get them to this point. I'll post it below...

Catherine Byrne has waited way too long for a day like Sunday.

Her women's soccer team extended its undefeated record to 7-0, the best start in team history, with a 2-1 victory over St. Bonaventure on Sunday.

After the game, the coach used a harsh tone to order stretching assignments and critique the team's performance.

If you want to know the truth, though, Byrne cherishes days like Sunday.

On days like Sunday, Byrne is happy to pick on the little faults, like waiting too long to put away an opponent.

On days like Sunday, the only thing outshining the cloudless sky over Lee Jackson Field is the Zips coach's outlook, which includes realistic hopes for a Mid-American Conference Championship.

I hear you reading aloud: "So what? Another Zips team is within reach of a conference title. Big deal."

Lose your skepticism. This is no ordinary team.

Playing its first game in 2001, the program is the youngest sport at the University of Akron.

Byrne came from Mount Union College where she was head coach.

An unenviable task awaited her: creating a team from scratch.

You think you're a dedicated employee? Byrne traveled to every major high school soccer tournament in the country her first year at Akron. Working 18 hours every day of the week, Byrne eventually compiled a recruiting database.

"I never imagined it would require so much of a work commitment," Byrne said, laughing. "I'd never do it again."

The next few years were a constant challenge to Byrne's emotional strength. In their five years of existence, the Zips have taken a step forward, then a step back. You could never tell if this was a team on the rise or a program going nowhere.

So what makes this year different?

Byrne has recruited higher quality players. Take Kate Ferrara, a New York native with scholarship offers from Big East schools.

"We just keep attracting a more complete player," the coach said, referring to Ferrara, a freshman starter, and sophomore Jessica Fix.

On her recruiting visit to Akron, Ferrara noticed the top-notch field house. She bought into Byrne's philosophies. And she meshed well with the other recruits.

That's another reason the players give for their elevated play: high team chemistry. "This year, compared to my freshman year, we have a lot more togetherness," senior Amee Thompson said.

Despite the perfect record, Akron players remain humble. The Zips remember where they came from.

Senior Jacque Pitchford recalls some years when the Zips would go winless in the MAC. In the program's first few seasons, players from the women's soccer club filled out the roster. They may as well have been playing on pogo sticks.

Those fears of a winless season have been replaced by a new approach, loftier goals and greater energy.

"The attitudes are high," Pitchford said. "Everybody's happy."

Whether Akron can continue this torrid streak is uncertain. It appears, however, the women's soccer team will experience many more days like Sunday.


Jenna Larson and Alyssa Carlson took third place at the Bowling Green Invitational.

The Zips don't play again until next month.


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